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Ashburn Man Charged with First-Degree Murder in Death of Estranged Wife

April 8, 2014 by Contributor Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office arrested an Ashburn man today in connection with the March 2014 death of his estranged wife.

The suspect, Braulio M. Castillo, 43, is charged with first-degree murder and is being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on no bond.

The victim, Michelle G. Castillo, 43, was found deceased in her home on Belmont Station Drive in Ashburn shortly after 9:00 a.m. on March 20. Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputies initially responded to the residence for a check the welfare call.

During the investigation the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office executed multiple search warrants at two locations and conducted door-to-door canvasses throughout the area.

The case was conducted in conjunction with the Office of the Medical Examiner and the Office of the Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Photo: Braulio M. Castillo

Project Livestock Will Help Animal Owners

April 1, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Loudoun County, News 1 comment

The Loudoun Sheriff’s Office is launching a new program in partnership with the Loudoun County Department of Animal Services and the Loudoun Cooperative Extension. The purpose of the program, Operation: Protect Livestock, is to quickly and safely reunite Loudoun County livestock owners with their lost or wayward animals.

“One night I was dispatched to the area of Harpers Ferry road for a report of cattle in the roadway. When I arrived, two Texas Longhorn Bulls were fighting in the middle of the roadway.  Not being able to leave them in the roadway alone as they were a traffic hazard, I asked dispatch for emergency contact information for a residence I thought they belonged to.  When dispatch said they did not have any information, I had to sit in the middle of the road with my lights and siren on in the hopes of waking up the homeowner.  Eventually the homeowner woke up and the cattle were safely returned home. From this incident came the idea of having emergency contact information of homeowners who own livestock that may get out,” said Deputy Tim James. … Continue Reading

Firefighters Collecting Toys for Tots

November 22, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment

The Loudoun County Fire-Rescue System and the Loudoun Career Fire Fighters Association are participating in the 66th annual Toys for Tots Campaign, sponsored by the United Stated Marine Corps Reserve.

“The department is proud to once again participate in this wonderful program,” said Fire Chief W. Keith Brower, Jr. “Your generosity will help put smiles on the faces of sick or needy children this holiday season.”

The Toys for Tots Campaign began in 1947 when a group of U.S. Marine Reservists collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children in the Los Angeles area at Christmas. In 2010, Marines distributed toys to more than 7.2 million children. … Continue Reading

Lovettsville Scouting for Food Drive 2013

November 20, 2013 by Contributor Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment

Cub Scouts and Girls Scouts Join Forces to Stock Western Loudoun Food Pantry With Over 2,000 Pounds of Food

Saturday, November 9, marked the culmination of two Saturdays each November when Lovettsville Cub Scout Pack 962 goes “Scouting For Food.” Each year, the Boy Scouts of America’s “Scouting for Food ” food drive raises many tons of food for food banks nationwide, and Lovettsville Pack 962 has a long history of supporting our area community through this grand tradition.

New this year, the Western Loudoun Food Pantry in Lovettsville was added as an official receiving location for Scouting For Food, so that all of the food collected in Lovettsville could return to help those in Lovettsville in need of assistance. Scouts turned out in force, joined by five Lovettsville Girl Scout Troops (1434, 4096, 4891, 6649, and 6652) to collect, weigh, sort, and shelve the food beginning at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The scouts wrapped up their activities a little after 12:00 with the pantry well stocked with 2,083 pounds of food. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: Morven Park and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy – Partners in Conservation

July 2, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment

For this month’s Wild Loudoun we focus on a very special partnership between Leesburg’s Morven Park and the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. When two organizations like this come together, the opportunities to promote “Wild Loudoun” are enormous.

A National Register Historic Property, Morven Park was once the home of Virginia Gov. Westmoreland Davis. Through programs offered at its three museums, sports/equestrian complex, and 1,000 acres of open space, Morven Park focuses on civic responsibility, agricultural sustainability, and improvement of life for rural Virginians, as well as historical preservation.

LWC is one of Loudoun County’s most respected and effective wildlife conservation organizations, offering its members and the general public a wide variety of programs – from advocacy before state and local government officials, to recreational ?activities, camps for children, and educational opportunities for adults. … Continue Reading

Attention County Residents

June 23, 2013 by Contributor Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment
Loudoun County Fair

Have you ever wanted to participate in the Loudoun County Fair, but don’t raise sheep, cows, pigs or rabbits? Well, here is your opportunity! You can be an EXHIBITOR at the Fair in Sykes Hall and if you register by July 12, you will receive a FREE weekly pass to the Fair! The Loudoun County Fair Committee is looking for residents of all ages to submit their original amateur works of Art, Crafts, Photography, Baking, Collections, Fruits and Vegetables and much more! This is a great way to get involved in and become part of the Fair. See the “Exhibitors” tab of our website www.loudouncountyfair.com for complete registration details. Come on, join the fun and we’ll see you at the Fair!

Valley Students Teach D.C. Students about Nature on the Chapman DeMary Trail

June 15, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment

More than 100 sixth graders from Charles Hart Middle School in Washington, D.C. connected with nature during a field trip to the Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, Virginia on Tuesday, May 21. The field trip was sponsored by environmental nonprofit The Nature Generation and led by 20 juniors and seniors from Loudoun Valley High School (LVHS), along with LVHS teacher Liam McGranaghan and naturalist John DeMary. The sixth graders participated in hands-on activities to learn about trees on the trail, how to be quiet to experience all that nature has to offer, and the concept of Leave No Trace.

“It was magical to see the interaction between the high school student stewards and the middle school students. The high school students really got the younger ones engaged in learning about nature and enjoying their time on the trail,” said Amy Marasco Newton, founder and president of The Nature Generation, an organization dedicated to inspiring environmental stewards. … Continue Reading

County Offers New Summer Family Pool Pass

May 24, 2013 by Contributor Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment
parks and rec

The Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services’ outdoor swimming pools will be open for the summer from May 25 through September 2, 2013. New this season, family pool passes will be offered for the Franklin Park Pool in Purcellville and the Lovettsville Community Pool.

The cost of the pass is $300 for a family of four (4) and $25 for each additional family member. (Non-county residents pay an additional 50 percent of fees.) Passes will be valid during normal pool operating hours and can be used at both locations.

Prior to Memorial Day weekend, passes can be purchased at the Franklin Park Visitors’ Center and Lovettsville Community Center, as well as the department’s administrative office (currently located at 215 Depot Court, SE, Leesburg, VA and relocating to 20145 Ashbrook Place, Suite 170, Ashburn, VA effective June 3, 2013). Passes will be available for purchase at both pools beginning May 25, 2013.

For more information, call 703-777-0343.

Board of Supervisors Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

May 5, 2013 by Contributor Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors recognized recipients of the 2013 Volunteer Loudoun Outstanding Volunteer Awards during the Board’s general business meeting on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. These awards honor individuals, groups, organizations and businesses for their extraordinary volunteer efforts in the community.

The 2013 award recipients include:

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year – Gabriella Miller – Ten-year-old Gabriella Miller, diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, was determined to help other children suffering from cancer by enhancing her own letter-writing campaign to the Make a Wish Foundation. She raised over $250,000 for the Foundation, which inspired Macy’s to donate an additional $25,000. Her fundraising efforts resulted in 36 additional wishes being granted for children facing serious health issues. … Continue Reading

FCA Power 13u Raising Money for Children’s National Medical Center

April 7, 2013 by Contributor Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment
Team members from left to right: Front row – Coach Brian Hasson, Parker Juergesen, Andrew Donofrio, Clark Hile, Aidan Nicholson and Zach Olsen. Second row – Coach Marty Hile, Jibreel Jaka, Nolan Badura, Kyle Dant, Kris Yermak, Jordan Winnett, Greg Payne, Sam Upton, and Manager Jeff Payne.

The FCA Power 13u, a boys baseball team with members from Western Loudoun County, is raising funds for the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The team is participating in a tournament, sponsored by Kyles Kamp and the Washington Nationals, to support the Oncology Division at CNMC. Net proceeds from Kyle’s Kamp 2013 will directly help children in their fight to survive cancer by investing in research for new diagnostic tools and therapies. Funds will also be used to support patients during their treatment and make sure they have access to medications, transportation, meals, and other basic needs.

In addition to an on-line fund raising website (information is available at www.kyleskamp.org) the Power are holding several spirit nights and raffle/bake sales in the Purcellvile area. The first will be held at Coach’s Corner Grill in Purcellville on Saturday, April 13. Coach Burton, the owner of Coach’s Corner, is donating a percentage of his total revenue that day to the FCA Power, so please everyone go and enjoy a meal at Coach’s Corner and help us fight childhood cancers. … Continue Reading

LCSO Investigating Death of Baby in Sterling, Mother Likely in Need of Medical Attention

April 7, 2013 by Contributor Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the death of a newborn infant that was located in a pond Sunday morning in the CountrySide area of Sterling, Virginia. Around 11:42AM a resident was walking along a path in the area of Awsley Court when they observed what appeared to be a deceased baby in a pond. Emergency personnel responded to the scene. The female newborn was deceased at the scene and it appears the birth did not occur in a hospital. Members of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office are working with Loudoun County Child Protective Services, School Resource Officers, and the community in hope to identify the mother of the child. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is concerned for her well-being, as she is likely in need of medical attention. She is asked to contact the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office at 703-777-1021 or go to the nearest hospital. Members of the community who have information regarding the identity of the mother, or if you saw anything suspicious in the area of Awsley Court, are asked to call Detective S. Petrakos at 703-777-0475.

Mosby Heritage Area Association Signs Contract with John Milner Associates, Inc. to Begin Preservation Plan for Aldie, Middleburg, Upperville Battlefields

April 7, 2013 by Contributor Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment

The Mosby Heritage Area Association has contracted John Milner Associates, Inc. to develop the preservation plan for the Civil War cavalry battlefields of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville. The preservation plan is being funded by a grant through the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service.

“After an extensive request-for-proposals process, we conducted several interviews, and now the Mosby Heritage Area Association is pleased to begin working with John Milner Associates,” says Executive Director, Judy Reynolds. … Continue Reading

Annual Book Sale in Jeopardy: 25 Year Loudoun Tradition at Risk

February 6, 2013 by Contributor Loudoun County, News Be the first to comment

A fixture on the Loudoun calendar since 1988, the Loudoun Library Foundation’s Annual Used Book Sale is at risk of cancellation due to a lack of space to sort and store the books collected for the sale. At its January meeting, the nonprofit foundation’s Board of Directors agreed that unless a new sorting facility can be secured by the end of January, this year’s sale will have to be called off.
The Loudoun Library Foundation book sale raises funds each year to help support public libraries across Loudoun County, raising more than $40,000 in 2012 through the sale of donated books, CDs, and DVDs at the popular three-day sale event in June. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Pungent Curry

9 Apr 2014


The latest version of the IPCC report is published and once again it will go unread by the great masses of climate science deniers and unreported by the media. So it might be useful to revisit the fundamental physical realities …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Understanding Teen Suicide

1 Apr 2014


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Northern Virginia has recently experienced several teen suicides. Last month, two Langley High School students took their own lives just a day apart from one another, and this month it appears two students at Woodson High …

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Virginia Gardening

Spring Is Coming

4 Mar 2014


By Donna Williamson March is an in-between month – some cold and the return of glorious warmth now and then. One way to bring some delight inside is forcing spring-blooming branches. You can cut branches of forsythia, cherry, crabapple, kerria, …

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Sushi's Corner

An Easter Swim

1 Apr 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.10.56 AM

I felt like a silly nim “cow” poop with these Easter bows in our hair. Okay Nelly, maybe you didn’t because you’re a girl. But me, a Mighty Cairn Terrier male? – PLEASE! Pleasing Mrs. B for Easter pictures was …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

1 Apr 2014

Amy Smith-BRL

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. …

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Go Take a Hike

Blandy Experimental Farm

6 Jun 2012


By Molly Pinson Simoneau It’s no secret that I love a challenging hike. I’ve written here about hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park. I’ve taken vacations with my family to Colorado where I’ve attempted to conquer a “fourteener” (a summit that is higher than 14,000 feet), …


Real Estate Ticker

A Buying Opportunity?

6 Nov 2013

Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer As a direct result of the uncertainty that has arisen from national and regional politics, with its unsettling effect on the Northern Virginia area, for the past two months there has been a market slowdown which has …

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From the Farm

From the Farm

5 Jul 2012

From the Farm

When the heat index reaches 110 degrees, as it has been doing recently, I try to keep in the shade, or stay indoors. But my lavender, about halfway from full bloom, seems to thrive in it. Hot and dry, I …

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April 2014
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: Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists -- Abstract painter Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and contemporary painter Sandra Iafrate


April 12, 2014N/A

Meet Evelyn and Sandra and other gallery artists during a free, open to the public reception for this month's Featured Artists' exhibit "Living Color,” showcasing two accomplished painters Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and Sandra Iafrate, in a vivid and dynamic presentation of color, shape and our surroundings.

Evelyn Lopez de Guzman’s vibrant paintings awaken the viewer to connect with nature and the modern world through an interplay of shape, color, and textural materials.

Sandra Iafrate’s combination of realistic and surrealist interpretation of flowers, foliage and landscapes on spacious canvases convey a sense of movement and playfulness.

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Easter at "The Park"


April 19, 2014

Celebrate Easter at historic Morven Park with crafts for kids, an egg hunt in the formal gardens plus a traditional egg roll on the Davis Mansion lawn. Have a family photo taken with the Easter Bunny. Children should bring a basket for the hunt and a large spoon for the egg roll. $10/participating child (ages 2-12), $3/adult. Register at www.MorvenPark.org.

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VAL's Pals Kids Club


April 30, 2014

Join Inova Loudoun Hospital as the present their Beamer the Dog Program.

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May 4, 2014

Scouting for Bricks is an exhibit showing the Love for everything LEGO® . Come see amazing LEGO® creations by Fans of LEGO®, LEGO® trains, Mindstorms robots. We will also have live Star Wars Stormtroopers and an interactive play area with over 100,000 LEGO bricks. Scouting for Bricks is fun for the Whole Family! Visit us at www.ScoutingForBricks.com.

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View From the Ridge

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

4 Mar 2014


In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park. Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts …



Steady and Nobull

4 Mar 2014

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Park and Ride Lots for Western Loudoun

4 Mar 2014


In 2003, the county purchased 22 commuter buses to serve a growing demand for bus service to Washington D.C. The demand has grown exponentially ever since. The county now owns or leases 65 large commuter buses (with plush seats and on board restrooms) and more are being added every year. The buses are often filled to standing room only as …



Sadie’s Race 5K and Fun Run Scheduled for Sunday May 18

9 Apr 2014


Sadie Smile Foundation is putting on the third annual Sadie’s Race/Walk and Kids Fun Run to Benefit Smile Train in Purcellville Sunday, May 18th this year. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at the train station at 200 N 21st Street in Purcellville. Sign up at Active.com. When Sara Ablard lost her five year-old daughter, Sadie, two years ago, she …

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Dr. Joseph Rogers Dies at Family Farm

1 Apr 2014

Dr. Joseph Megeath Rogers, 90, died on Saturday March 8, 2014 at his Hillbrook Farm near Hamilton following a stroke. Physician, farmer, businessman, rural land conservationist, philanthropist and expert horseman, Dr. Rogers was a tireless advocate and practitioner of country living whose contributions in a broad range of interests were made quietly and with little fanfare. His public persona was …

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Zoldos Presented Citizen of the Year Award

1 Apr 2014


At the biweekly March meeting of the Lovettsville Town Council, Mayor Bobby Zoldos was presented the 2013 Citizen of the Year from the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans. Presenting the award was Rick Adams, current president along with Board Member Peter Mullally and  Vice President Jeff Boogaard. Adams said, “On behalf of the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans, we would like to present the …

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Around Virginia

Wolf Won’t Seek Re-election


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he would not seek election to an 18th term in 2014. He released the following statement announcing his decision: “I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern …

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Virginia Can and Should Work Harder to Combat Hunger


By Congressman Frank Wolf Last year, the USDA reported a record number of Americans are struggling to put food on their tables. Across the nation, 49 million people – including 17 million children and six million seniors – are going hungry, a number that has grown substantially over the last …

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Kaine Statement on Navy Yard Shooting


U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on today’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by today’s tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. As we learn more about the horrific events that unfolded this morning, my deepest sympathies go out …

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Nominate Your Hometown Hero

9 Apr 2014


Upper Loudoun Little League’s Hometown Heroes scholarship closes on April 21, 2014. The application is available online at ULLL.org. The scholarship is open to all graduating seniors who played baseball for ULLL at some point in their growing up years.

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Lady Vikings Give Back

10 Feb 2014

The Loudoun Valley Girls basketball team held an event on Friday, February 7 at LVHS. The Lady Vikings celebrated “Pink Night” by honoring those who are battling breast cancer or have been affected by breast cancer. The event was held in conjunction with an event held at Woodgrove earlier this …

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Medicaid Expansion Battle Heating Up

4 Mar 2014


Did you know that there’s a very real possibility that a DC-style budget battle and government shutdown could come to Virginia? The Medicaid expansion battle …

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Endorsing for Profit Businesses?

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

I recently received an automated email message from the Town of Purcellville soliciting nominations for volunteer award recipients in cooperation with the Purcellville Business Association …


Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and …



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